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Page last updated at 12:59 GMT, Thursday, 31 July 2008 13:59 UK

Saudi accused of having six wives

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A member of the Saudi religious police has been accused of having six wives at the same time - two more than allowed under religious laws, reports say.

The 56-year-old was detained in south-western Jizan province, according to the Saudi newspaper al-Watan.

Three of the women involved were Saudis and the other three were from Yemen, just over the border, it reported.

The accused denies the women are all currently his wives and says he has divorced two of them.

Muslim men can keep up to four wives at a time under sharia, or Islamic law, which is applied in Saudi Arabia.

Members of the Saudi Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice are expected to enforce the kingdom's strict interpretation of Islam, particularly regarding relations between the sexes.

Last month, the Saudi authorities were reportedly considering introducing compulsory pre-marriage courses for engaged couples in order to cut the kingdom's growing divorce rate.


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